Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Category

Who murdered the rising Palestinian leader who stood up for his … – Haaretz

skip – googletagmanagerskip – redirectProbability skip – adBlock detector skip – skip – Visual Revenue skip – skip – skip – logo schema for googleskip – infolinks- inread skip – skip – googletagmanagerskip – redirectProbability skip – AddBolcker The Shoafat refugee camp in Jerusalem. Tali Mayer

Baha Nababta fought to improve life in the Shoafat refugee camp, not hesitating to work with Israeli authorities; hope for change in the squalid neighborhood died with him

Despair comes easily in the Shoafat refugee camp. The camp is a neighborhood in eternally unified

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Who murdered the rising Palestinian leader who stood up for his … – Haaretz

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Safe in Jerusalem, Iranian blogger thanks Israel for ‘saving’ her – The Times of Israel

Hours after she arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday, Neda Amin, an Iranian-born journalist and dissident who feared being deported to her native country, thanked the Israeli government for granting her refuge, adding that she has Jewish roots and would love to live in Israel.

During a press conference at The Times of Israels Jerusalem offices, Amin who blogged regularly and freelanced for The Times of Israels Persian site described her anguish as she feared Turkey, where she had lived as a refugee since 2014, would deport her back to Iran.

Having written critically about the regime, Amin feared she would have been arrested, tortured, and that her life would have been in danger had she been forced to return to the Islamic Republic.

I am very happy. Israel is my country, she said in broken English, adding that she finally felt safe now because no one wants to attack or arrest her here.

Amin, 32, said she had no immediate plans but indicated that she would seek permanent residence status or citizenship.

In the meantime, I was saved, I was rescued, she said in Persian, speaking through an interpreter. If the Israeli authorities will give me permission, I would love to live here, with all my heart and soul. If not, I will respect their decision.

Amin said her late fathers mother was Jewish and that she always felt sympathetic toward Israel and the Jewish religion.

According to Jewish law, my father is considered Jewish, but according to Muslim law, my father is considered a Muslim. But my father didnt really believe in Islam, so he also learned about Judaism, she said.

My roots are somewhat connected to Judaism. I loved Israel since my youth; I never accepted all the regimes anti-Israel slogans. I always dreamed that I will somehow get to Israel.

Amin said she would love to learn Hebrew, because I believe that I have some sort of connection with Judaism and Israel.

Amin had appealed to the United Nations in Turkey to protect her the UN designated her a refugee in 2015 and had also appealed to human rights organizations and others to intervene on her behalf.

When her situation came to my attention, which was only two weeks ago, I spoke to the relevant Israeli authorities and told them about the situation, said Times of Israel editor David Horovitz, who met Amin at the airport earlier on Thursday. I felt that we had an obligation The Times of Israel in particular and the State of Israel in general to help someone who is in trouble partly because of her connection with Israel.

Neda Amin is welcomed by Times of Israels David Horovitz at Ben-Gurion Airport, August 10, 2017 (Times of Israel staff)

She also turned to other countries for help but said they all told her to wait patiently.

The only country that really acted rapidly was Israel, she said. As opposed to all the things that are being said, especially in Iran, about Israel, that it violates human rights, I saw that Israel took steps to keep human rights, to save the life of a human being.

Had she had been deported to Iran, Amin said, she would have been subjected to arrest, torture, rape, and I would have been forced to confess to things I didnt do. People accused of collaborating with the Zionist regime are routinely accused of these things, she continued, and eventually killed. Thats what really scared me.

Most of my family broke off contact of me because of my connection to Israel, she said.

Meanwhile, Turkey told me they would send me to Iran, she added. I was in so much danger, and my life was so difficult, and eventually the State of Israel gave me this place. I am thankful to David [Horovitz] for his help.

Horovitz said he understood Amin felt her life was in danger because she had attacked the regime in Tehran and because Turkey, where she sought asylum, is changing and might kick her out. There was a choice: do nothing, or see if we can save her. I dont think I could have lived with myself if I had found out that she was on a plane back to Iran.

He noted that while he often writes critically about Israel and Israeli politicians, in Amins case Jerusalems actions were praiseworthy. Somebodys life was potentially in danger, and the Israeli authorities did far beyond what would be expected, in my opinion. They made sure that she was able to leave.

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Safe in Jerusalem, Iranian blogger thanks Israel for ‘saving’ her – The Times of Israel

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Hands off women conscripts – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

IDF female soldiers training. (photo credit:COURTESY IDF SPOKESMAN’S OFFICE)

The IDF has long stood out for its conscription of women alongside men into national service, at the age of 18. Iconic photographs of women in battle date back to the Independence War in 1948.

Though for many years after, the army has relegated women soldiers too often to clerical jobs, the past 20 years have seen a boom in female soldiers breaking the armys glass ceiling. Growing numbers of women soldiers are joining combat units, becoming officers and serving on the front line. Women in the fabled Caracal Battalion infantry unit have made headlines in recent years for their role in thwarting terrorist incursions in the South.

Israel has long been proud of its co-ed military and having been among the first countries to induct women into compulsory service. Dual gender service in the IDF is an integral part of who we are. This ethos goes hand in hand with the draft of a cross-section of Israels diverse society, having widened the pool to include more Arab citizens and ultra-Orthodox men in recent years. The melting-pot nature of the IDF is a source of national pride, and a characteristic that sets the country apart from its closest ally in Washington. While US President Donald Trump rules out transgender troops for the American army, Israel enjoys the benefit of including LGBT soldiers in its military ranks.

At the same time, in the past 20 years, largely since a landmark High Court ruling entitled women to train as fighter pilots, rising numbers of women have been climbing up the IDFs ranks, and volunteering for the more dangerous or daring combat units that were once solely male. Late last year this newspaper reported a 400% jump in women recruits to combat units over previous years.

All these accomplishments are now under threat, as prominent members of the Orthodox community publicly assail the value of womens service, largely by protesting against the existence of mixed-gender units.

This debate about gender separation is doubly damaging. It is an insult to the women putting their lives on the line in the IDF and it shifts the focus of public debate away from more crucial security concerns. Israelis need to think more about keeping their military inclusive and inducting greater numbers of ultra-Orthodox and Arab citizens.

Its time for a strong public censure of what has become a routine litany of insults against female members of the IDF, insults leveled at them for no other reason than the fact they are women. The denigration of mixed gender units and attempt to discourage other women from enlisting is tantamount to denying the contributions and mocking the sacrifices made by women in their service in the IDF.

Just this past week activists posted a large billboard- looking ad alongside the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, which claims that Israel is stronger without mixed units.

Instead of being feted for their bravery and tenacity, young women risking their lives whether in an underground bunker or lying in ambush or helping to patrol a hostile border have become the butt of billboard campaigns that mock them. What is next? The abolition of female conscription altogether, perhaps? Mixed gender service is what the IDF has always been about. Great gender equality has always been an aspiration of Israeli society and a source of pride. Some critics defend calls for women to avoid the IDF by pointing to incidents of sexual harassment and assault that have taken place on military bases. The IDF has taken steps to address these concerns. These issues, however, plague soldiers of both genders, and civilian life as well, in all parts of society. No social group is immune to this problem. Using it as an excuse for women to avoid the draft is certainly not the answer.

It would be more productive for all concerned parties to press for greater enforcement of the law against sex offenders, both in the military and outside it.

This would do much greater service than campaigning against womens service in the military, which only insults the hundreds of thousands who have stepped forward over the years to serve their country.

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Jerusalem aquarium yet to open amid acclimation setbacks – The Times of Israel

The opening of the new Jerusalem aquarium is being postponed indefinitely, lacking enough viable sea creatures to ensure a good visitor experience.

The still-unopened aquarium has experienced the loss of dozens of fish as well as two sharks, an aquarium representative confirmed.

There is a long process of acclimatization and adaptation for sensitive creatures such as sharks, all of which remain behind-the-scenes in our quarantine area, she said.

There are no shortcuts in the process of populating a new aquarium, said the aquarium in a statement to the press.

Its a long, challenging process, and it takes time, said the aquarium.

A scuba diver in one of the tanks of the still-unopened Jerusalem aquarium (Hadas Parush/Flash 90)

The Israel Aquarium, like its parent organization, the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem popularly known as the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo concentrates on the countrys natural niches, with a focus on the marine life of Israeli waters, including the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, the Sea of Galilee and even the Dead Sea (despite its name, some living microorganisms can be found there).

The aquariums tanks mimic the various sea systems in Israel, whether showing schools of fish in the shallow waters of the Dor Beach at the Mediterranean Sea, or St. Peters fish in the Sea of Galilee swimming their freshwater tank that includes the black basilica stone of the Tiberias region.

Unfortunately, some of the fish that represent these systems havent survived the transfer to their new home.

The reasons for losing fish can be due to a technical failure, such as a short-circuit, or acclimation difficulties, said the aquarium. Weve also spent a lot of staff time and effort trying to save fish caught as bycatch by fisherman that are not suitable for eating and brought to us.

Dozens of clown fish populate one of the tanks in the Jerusalem aquarium (Hadas Parush/Flash 90)

Anyone who is involved in the field knows the difficulty of acclimating fish that sometimes leads to loss of fish during the process, reported the aquarium.

At the same time, the aquarium has also had breeding successes with many endangered species, such as various species of rays and guitarfish.

The aquariums tanks mimic the habitats of the Mediterranean and Red Sea, including this tank tunnel within the facility (Hadas Parush/Flash 90)

The Jerusalem Zoo spent much of the last 10 years working on the aquarium, with an investment of NIS 100 million ($28.5 million) from donors and local authorities.

But it wont be opened until it can guarantee standards that offer an excellent visitor experience. The aquariums standards must be high in order to offer a great visitor experience, said the aquarium. Unfortunately, the as-yet unopened facility has experienced a significant financial loss by missing the busy summer season.

Its a reminder of how quixotic this major endeavor was, recreating marine life in landlocked, hilly Jerusalem, as part of the Biblical Zoo complex, 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea and even farther from the Red Sea.

Its a challenge to bring this to Jerusalem, said Shai Doron, CEO of Jerusalems Tisch Family Zoo, when he guided a group of journalists through the unopened aquarium in July. We had to do it all from scratch. Were bringing the sea to Jerusalem.

The aquarium is the first of its kind in Israel, and the first public, inland aquarium in the Middle East.

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Jerusalem aquarium yet to open amid acclimation setbacks – The Times of Israel

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Jerusalem’s African community stands with Al-Aqsa – Al-Monitor

African migrants take part in a protest opposite the Knesset, Jerusalem, Israel, Jan. 8, 2014.(photo byREUTERS/Baz Ratner)

Author:Aziza Nofal Posted August 9, 2017

RAMALLAH, West Bank As Jerusalemites protested at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosquein July,in rejection of the Israeli decision to install metal detectorsat theholy site,members of the city’s African community offered protesters water and food. They also welcomed worshippers into theirhomes during the protests, as the hub of this communityis located near Al-Aqsa,around the Council Gate (Bab al-Majlis).

TranslatorAl-Monitor

Jerusalem’sAfrican communityis relatively small and consists of nearly 50 families living in the Bab al-Majlis neighborhood of the Old City.The majority of the community comes from countries such asChad, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan.Theirancestors came toJerusalem in successive periods, beginning in theOttoman era and continuing into the British Mandate.

Moussa Qaws, a co-founderof the African Community Society in Bab al-Majlis, told Al-Monitor that Africans “immigrated to Palestine for two main reasons: the first is religious and consists of the hajj [to Al-Aqsa Mosque, which often follows the pilgrimage to Mecca]. In fact,Africans who used to make thepilgrimage toJerusalem were rewarded a privileged social status. The second reason is jihad and the [religious] bond [formed] in Jerusalem.

Though Africans first began to visitJerusalem in the Ottoman period, Qaws said they only started settling there in the 1940s, during the British Mandate. Most Africans came to the city as part of the Arab Liberation Army, which included volunteers from various Islamic countries who wanted to help the Palestinians in their fight against the British and the Zionists. Many African members of the armystayed in Jerusalem after the fighting concluded. According to Qaws, Jerusalem’s African community numbers around 750 peopleat present.

Qaws’father came to Palestine from Chad in 1942 to pray atAl-Aqsa Mosque after making the hajjto Mecca. He carrieda French travel document sinceChad was then under French rule. He ended up staying in Jerusalemand marryinga Palestinian woman.

When Jordan controlled East Jerusalem, from1948-1967, the Jordanian government did notgrant citizenship to Africans. Followingthe Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in 1967, Africans who lived in Jerusalem obtained identity cards.

Once they obtained identity cards, members ofthe African Palestinian community in Jerusalem were forced to travelwitha document known as the laissez-passer. This prevented Qaws and his brothers from visiting their relatives in Chaddue to the country’s nonrecognition of Israel and the absence of diplomatic ties.My father died in 1983, so I went to the French Embassy to ask for [French]nationality,” he said, noting that his father had been a French citizen.”My request was rejected since Chad was no longer a French colony.

Although the African community merged with Jerusalemites and adapted to the city’s way of life, it has kept its own traditions and customs. Qawssaid, Even though we do not come from the same country, we were raised in Jerusalem as members of one family, and we have common traditions that we seekto maintainsuch as those of death and marriage, as well asour shared popular dish ofporridgeknown as Asidathat we eat on special occasions.

These traditions were in part preserved with the help of the African Community Society, which was established in 1983. The society seeks to connect its members to their varied African heritages, especially the youth,and also to introduce tourists in Jerusalem to their traditions.

The economic situation of the African community is no different from the rest of the Old City, where the poverty rate reached 82% in 2014, according to a study by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. Members of the city’s African community are generally not landowners in the city; they primarily rent houses.

Ihabal-Jallad, aresearcher on Jerusalem affairs at the Jerusalem Popular Committee,said this community is a central part of the city’s social fabric, whichis composed of many different groups that all acknowledge the sanctity of the city.However, members of the community tend to marry within the community, and can also face discrimination based on their skin color.

Jallad told Al-Monitor that African community members were “famous for their work as guards at the gates ofAl-AqsaMosque over the years.” He said the community does not have any singular political leaders, since members are often affiliated with a diverse range of authorities in Jerusalem.

Many yearshave passed since theAfrican community’s initial arrival inJerusalem. Though they still feel an innate sense of connection to their ancestors’ countries of origin, they have chosen to continue livingin Jerusalem for its sanctity. It is in this tradition of fusion, Qaws said, that the African Community Society has embarked on a new project: to embroider atraditional silk African wedding gown using the stitched embroidery of the Palestinians.

Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/08/jerusalem-african-community-culture-al-aqsa.html

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How Netanyahu trumped Trump – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump at Ben Gurion International Airport. (photo credit:KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

The ultimate preview to Wednesday nights mass rally at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds was the statement Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus wife, Sara, uttered to American first lady Melania Trump upon her May 22 arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport.

The media hates us, but the people love us, she said.

Fast forward to Wednesday night, when the prime minister took his wifes statement and made it the central theme of his address to more than 3,000 Likud activists who crowded into the hall on short notice to show him the love.

First, Netanyahu mentioned his love for Sara. Then, his love for the audience, for his party, and the people. The rest of the speech was about the media.

Long before Trump, Netanyahu realized that the publics animosity for the press can be galvanized. The Israel Democracy Institutes polls consistently show that journalism is the least respected profession in Israel, even lower than politician.

A sign in the crowd at the Fairgrounds could have fit in any of Trumps rallies in the US: Its not fake news, its f***ing news.

By turning his multiple criminal investigations into a fight between him and the media, Netanyahu painted himself as a victim being bullied and worthy of sympathy. But he did not stop there.

Netanyahu knew he needed to do more than equate the media with the Left. That is an easy task. He had to criticize the investigations against him, while being careful not to come out too strong against the police and the state prosecution.

The last thing Netanyahu needs is to be like Yoram Sheftel, the foul-mouthed attorney of Hebron shooter Elor Azaria, who called the IDF chief of staff a fatso, and then had to ask him to ease the sentence of his client.

Netanyahu had to make it look as if he is being investigated by the Left, so he brought up three symbols of the Left that are extremely unpopular with the public: The Oslo peace process, the Haaretz newspaper, and former prime minister Ehud Barak. If he could make those three his enemies in the eyes of the public, Netanyahu will have an easy sell.

The Palestinians want me to be toppled, he told the crowd, earning even more sympathy.

The story of the Likuds Yitzhak Shamir being overthrown in 1992 and replaced by Yitzhak Rabins Labor Party due to false corruption charges is not entirely accurate. But it enabled Netanyahu to equate anti-corruption activism with giving up land.

The protesters who have been gathering outside Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblits home in Petah Tikva every Saturday night have taken pains to insist their demonstrations are not left-wing.

Protest leader Daphne Leef summarized that strategy when she explained why she would not be protesting outside the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on Wednesday night.

We are against corruption, not the Right or the Left, she said. We dont need to fall in that trap.

But one speech by Netanyahu giving the opposite message canceled out what demonstrations held every Saturday for more than 30 weeks tried to achieve.

The Petah Tikva protesters are now part of them, those who are trying to overthrow a government that the people want. They are part of the bad guys, the Left, the media.

Netanyahu is the people. And he delivered that message to a consensus of Israelis more effectively than was ever done by Donald Trump, who has never succeeded in forging a consensus in the United States. Donald and Melania still have what to learn from Benjamin and Sara, who trumped them on Wednesday night.

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Benjamin Netanyahu cuts ribbon on new road linking Beit Shemesh … – The Jerusalem Post

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IDF strikes Hamas targets following Gaza rocket attack – The Jerusalem Post

An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip July 17, 2014.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The Israeli Air Force targeted two Hamas posts on the northern Gaza Strip late Tuesday night following an earlier rocket attack from the Hamas-controlled territory, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

“Israel holds the terrorist organization solely responsible for activities on the Strip,” stated the IDF after the strike.

According The Jerusalem Post’s sister site Maariv, citing Palestinian media, there were a number of injuries resulting from the IDF strike, and one person was rushed to Al-Shifa Hospital located in Gaza City.

Recently acquired F-35 stealth fighter jets were reportedly used in the strike.

This summer marks three years since Operation Protective Edge, in which thousands of rockets, mortars and other projectiles were launched from Gaza towards Israel and the IDF caused extensive damage with air and ground offensives, aiming to eliminate the terrorist threat. The war lasted 50 days and saw 68 soldiers, and five civilians killed on the Israeli sides and upwards of 2,000 killed on the Palestinian side, more than half claimed by Israel to be combatants.

Since then Israel has held Hamas responsible for all fire from Gaza and customarily reacts by carrying out air strikes on the group’s bases and infrastructure.

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Sirens sounded as missile launched at southern Israel – The Jerusalem Post

Rocket fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. [File]. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Rocket sirens were sounded this evening in the coastal city of Ashkelon as a missile was launched at the city from Gaza. According to the IDF the rocket landed in an open area, causing no injuries or damage.

A spokesman for Hof Ashkelon regional council said that alarms were also sounded in the nearby villages of Zikim and Carmia. Military forces were dispatched to scan the area.

Palestinian media reported that the Israeli Air Force fired artillery at the source of the rocket fire in the northern Gaza Strip.

While terrorism has plagued Israel over this summer, much of it has been centered around Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, with only a handful of projectiles being launched from Gaza. The last rocket was launched on July 22. Pieces of the rocket landed in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.

In April, rocket sirens were sounded in the Eshkol Regional Council. The attack was claimed by a local ISIS affiliate, according to the group’s media outlet, Amaq. While no physical injuries were reported, one person was treated for shock.

This summer marks three years since Operation Protective Edge, in which thousands of rockets, mortars and other projectiles were launched from Gaza towards Israel and the IDF caused extensive damage with air and ground offensives, aiming to eliminate the terrorist threat. The war lasted 50 days and saw 68 soldiers, and five civilians killed on the Israeli sides and upwards of 2,000 killed on the Palestinian side, more than half claimed by Israel to be combatants.

Since then Israel has held Hamas responsible for all fire from Gaza and customarily reacts by carrying out air strikes on the group’s bases and infrastructure.

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Who murdered the rising Palestinian leader who stood up for his … – Haaretz

skip – googletagmanagerskip – redirectProbability skip – adBlock detector skip – skip – Visual Revenue skip – skip – skip – logo schema for googleskip – infolinks- inread skip – skip – googletagmanagerskip – redirectProbability skip – AddBolcker The Shoafat refugee camp in Jerusalem. Tali Mayer Baha Nababta fought to improve life in the Shoafat refugee camp, not hesitating to work with Israeli authorities; hope for change in the squalid neighborhood died with him Despair comes easily in the Shoafat refugee camp. The camp is a neighborhood in eternally unified

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Safe in Jerusalem, Iranian blogger thanks Israel for ‘saving’ her – The Times of Israel

Hours after she arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday, Neda Amin, an Iranian-born journalist and dissident who feared being deported to her native country, thanked the Israeli government for granting her refuge, adding that she has Jewish roots and would love to live in Israel. During a press conference at The Times of Israels Jerusalem offices, Amin who blogged regularly and freelanced for The Times of Israels Persian site described her anguish as she feared Turkey, where she had lived as a refugee since 2014, would deport her back to Iran. Having written critically about the regime, Amin feared she would have been arrested, tortured, and that her life would have been in danger had she been forced to return to the Islamic Republic. I am very happy. Israel is my country, she said in broken English, adding that she finally felt safe now because no one wants to attack or arrest her here. Amin, 32, said she had no immediate plans but indicated that she would seek permanent residence status or citizenship. In the meantime, I was saved, I was rescued, she said in Persian, speaking through an interpreter. If the Israeli authorities will give me permission, I would love to live here, with all my heart and soul. If not, I will respect their decision. Amin said her late fathers mother was Jewish and that she always felt sympathetic toward Israel and the Jewish religion. According to Jewish law, my father is considered Jewish, but according to Muslim law, my father is considered a Muslim. But my father didnt really believe in Islam, so he also learned about Judaism, she said. My roots are somewhat connected to Judaism. I loved Israel since my youth; I never accepted all the regimes anti-Israel slogans. I always dreamed that I will somehow get to Israel. Amin said she would love to learn Hebrew, because I believe that I have some sort of connection with Judaism and Israel. Amin had appealed to the United Nations in Turkey to protect her the UN designated her a refugee in 2015 and had also appealed to human rights organizations and others to intervene on her behalf. When her situation came to my attention, which was only two weeks ago, I spoke to the relevant Israeli authorities and told them about the situation, said Times of Israel editor David Horovitz, who met Amin at the airport earlier on Thursday. I felt that we had an obligation The Times of Israel in particular and the State of Israel in general to help someone who is in trouble partly because of her connection with Israel. Neda Amin is welcomed by Times of Israels David Horovitz at Ben-Gurion Airport, August 10, 2017 (Times of Israel staff) She also turned to other countries for help but said they all told her to wait patiently. The only country that really acted rapidly was Israel, she said. As opposed to all the things that are being said, especially in Iran, about Israel, that it violates human rights, I saw that Israel took steps to keep human rights, to save the life of a human being. Had she had been deported to Iran, Amin said, she would have been subjected to arrest, torture, rape, and I would have been forced to confess to things I didnt do. People accused of collaborating with the Zionist regime are routinely accused of these things, she continued, and eventually killed. Thats what really scared me. Most of my family broke off contact of me because of my connection to Israel, she said. Meanwhile, Turkey told me they would send me to Iran, she added. I was in so much danger, and my life was so difficult, and eventually the State of Israel gave me this place. I am thankful to David [Horovitz] for his help. Horovitz said he understood Amin felt her life was in danger because she had attacked the regime in Tehran and because Turkey, where she sought asylum, is changing and might kick her out. There was a choice: do nothing, or see if we can save her. I dont think I could have lived with myself if I had found out that she was on a plane back to Iran. He noted that while he often writes critically about Israel and Israeli politicians, in Amins case Jerusalems actions were praiseworthy. Somebodys life was potentially in danger, and the Israeli authorities did far beyond what would be expected, in my opinion. They made sure that she was able to leave.

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Hands off women conscripts – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

IDF female soldiers training. (photo credit:COURTESY IDF SPOKESMAN’S OFFICE) The IDF has long stood out for its conscription of women alongside men into national service, at the age of 18. Iconic photographs of women in battle date back to the Independence War in 1948. Though for many years after, the army has relegated women soldiers too often to clerical jobs, the past 20 years have seen a boom in female soldiers breaking the armys glass ceiling. Growing numbers of women soldiers are joining combat units, becoming officers and serving on the front line. Women in the fabled Caracal Battalion infantry unit have made headlines in recent years for their role in thwarting terrorist incursions in the South. Israel has long been proud of its co-ed military and having been among the first countries to induct women into compulsory service. Dual gender service in the IDF is an integral part of who we are. This ethos goes hand in hand with the draft of a cross-section of Israels diverse society, having widened the pool to include more Arab citizens and ultra-Orthodox men in recent years. The melting-pot nature of the IDF is a source of national pride, and a characteristic that sets the country apart from its closest ally in Washington. While US President Donald Trump rules out transgender troops for the American army, Israel enjoys the benefit of including LGBT soldiers in its military ranks. At the same time, in the past 20 years, largely since a landmark High Court ruling entitled women to train as fighter pilots, rising numbers of women have been climbing up the IDFs ranks, and volunteering for the more dangerous or daring combat units that were once solely male. Late last year this newspaper reported a 400% jump in women recruits to combat units over previous years. All these accomplishments are now under threat, as prominent members of the Orthodox community publicly assail the value of womens service, largely by protesting against the existence of mixed-gender units. This debate about gender separation is doubly damaging. It is an insult to the women putting their lives on the line in the IDF and it shifts the focus of public debate away from more crucial security concerns. Israelis need to think more about keeping their military inclusive and inducting greater numbers of ultra-Orthodox and Arab citizens. Its time for a strong public censure of what has become a routine litany of insults against female members of the IDF, insults leveled at them for no other reason than the fact they are women. The denigration of mixed gender units and attempt to discourage other women from enlisting is tantamount to denying the contributions and mocking the sacrifices made by women in their service in the IDF. Just this past week activists posted a large billboard- looking ad alongside the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, which claims that Israel is stronger without mixed units. Instead of being feted for their bravery and tenacity, young women risking their lives whether in an underground bunker or lying in ambush or helping to patrol a hostile border have become the butt of billboard campaigns that mock them. What is next? The abolition of female conscription altogether, perhaps? Mixed gender service is what the IDF has always been about. Great gender equality has always been an aspiration of Israeli society and a source of pride. Some critics defend calls for women to avoid the IDF by pointing to incidents of sexual harassment and assault that have taken place on military bases. The IDF has taken steps to address these concerns. These issues, however, plague soldiers of both genders, and civilian life as well, in all parts of society. No social group is immune to this problem. Using it as an excuse for women to avoid the draft is certainly not the answer. It would be more productive for all concerned parties to press for greater enforcement of the law against sex offenders, both in the military and outside it. This would do much greater service than campaigning against womens service in the military, which only insults the hundreds of thousands who have stepped forward over the years to serve their country. Share on facebook

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Jerusalem aquarium yet to open amid acclimation setbacks – The Times of Israel

The opening of the new Jerusalem aquarium is being postponed indefinitely, lacking enough viable sea creatures to ensure a good visitor experience. The still-unopened aquarium has experienced the loss of dozens of fish as well as two sharks, an aquarium representative confirmed. There is a long process of acclimatization and adaptation for sensitive creatures such as sharks, all of which remain behind-the-scenes in our quarantine area, she said. There are no shortcuts in the process of populating a new aquarium, said the aquarium in a statement to the press. Its a long, challenging process, and it takes time, said the aquarium. A scuba diver in one of the tanks of the still-unopened Jerusalem aquarium (Hadas Parush/Flash 90) The Israel Aquarium, like its parent organization, the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem popularly known as the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo concentrates on the countrys natural niches, with a focus on the marine life of Israeli waters, including the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, the Sea of Galilee and even the Dead Sea (despite its name, some living microorganisms can be found there). The aquariums tanks mimic the various sea systems in Israel, whether showing schools of fish in the shallow waters of the Dor Beach at the Mediterranean Sea, or St. Peters fish in the Sea of Galilee swimming their freshwater tank that includes the black basilica stone of the Tiberias region. Unfortunately, some of the fish that represent these systems havent survived the transfer to their new home. The reasons for losing fish can be due to a technical failure, such as a short-circuit, or acclimation difficulties, said the aquarium. Weve also spent a lot of staff time and effort trying to save fish caught as bycatch by fisherman that are not suitable for eating and brought to us. Dozens of clown fish populate one of the tanks in the Jerusalem aquarium (Hadas Parush/Flash 90) Anyone who is involved in the field knows the difficulty of acclimating fish that sometimes leads to loss of fish during the process, reported the aquarium. At the same time, the aquarium has also had breeding successes with many endangered species, such as various species of rays and guitarfish. The aquariums tanks mimic the habitats of the Mediterranean and Red Sea, including this tank tunnel within the facility (Hadas Parush/Flash 90) The Jerusalem Zoo spent much of the last 10 years working on the aquarium, with an investment of NIS 100 million ($28.5 million) from donors and local authorities. But it wont be opened until it can guarantee standards that offer an excellent visitor experience. The aquariums standards must be high in order to offer a great visitor experience, said the aquarium. Unfortunately, the as-yet unopened facility has experienced a significant financial loss by missing the busy summer season. Its a reminder of how quixotic this major endeavor was, recreating marine life in landlocked, hilly Jerusalem, as part of the Biblical Zoo complex, 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea and even farther from the Red Sea. Its a challenge to bring this to Jerusalem, said Shai Doron, CEO of Jerusalems Tisch Family Zoo, when he guided a group of journalists through the unopened aquarium in July. We had to do it all from scratch. Were bringing the sea to Jerusalem. The aquarium is the first of its kind in Israel, and the first public, inland aquarium in the Middle East.

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August 10, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Jerusalem’s African community stands with Al-Aqsa – Al-Monitor

African migrants take part in a protest opposite the Knesset, Jerusalem, Israel, Jan. 8, 2014.(photo byREUTERS/Baz Ratner) Author:Aziza Nofal Posted August 9, 2017 RAMALLAH, West Bank As Jerusalemites protested at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosquein July,in rejection of the Israeli decision to install metal detectorsat theholy site,members of the city’s African community offered protesters water and food. They also welcomed worshippers into theirhomes during the protests, as the hub of this communityis located near Al-Aqsa,around the Council Gate (Bab al-Majlis). TranslatorAl-Monitor Jerusalem’sAfrican communityis relatively small and consists of nearly 50 families living in the Bab al-Majlis neighborhood of the Old City.The majority of the community comes from countries such asChad, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan.Theirancestors came toJerusalem in successive periods, beginning in theOttoman era and continuing into the British Mandate. Moussa Qaws, a co-founderof the African Community Society in Bab al-Majlis, told Al-Monitor that Africans “immigrated to Palestine for two main reasons: the first is religious and consists of the hajj [to Al-Aqsa Mosque, which often follows the pilgrimage to Mecca]. In fact,Africans who used to make thepilgrimage toJerusalem were rewarded a privileged social status. The second reason is jihad and the [religious] bond [formed] in Jerusalem. Though Africans first began to visitJerusalem in the Ottoman period, Qaws said they only started settling there in the 1940s, during the British Mandate. Most Africans came to the city as part of the Arab Liberation Army, which included volunteers from various Islamic countries who wanted to help the Palestinians in their fight against the British and the Zionists. Many African members of the armystayed in Jerusalem after the fighting concluded. According to Qaws, Jerusalem’s African community numbers around 750 peopleat present. Qaws’father came to Palestine from Chad in 1942 to pray atAl-Aqsa Mosque after making the hajjto Mecca. He carrieda French travel document sinceChad was then under French rule. He ended up staying in Jerusalemand marryinga Palestinian woman. When Jordan controlled East Jerusalem, from1948-1967, the Jordanian government did notgrant citizenship to Africans. Followingthe Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in 1967, Africans who lived in Jerusalem obtained identity cards. Once they obtained identity cards, members ofthe African Palestinian community in Jerusalem were forced to travelwitha document known as the laissez-passer. This prevented Qaws and his brothers from visiting their relatives in Chaddue to the country’s nonrecognition of Israel and the absence of diplomatic ties.My father died in 1983, so I went to the French Embassy to ask for [French]nationality,” he said, noting that his father had been a French citizen.”My request was rejected since Chad was no longer a French colony. Although the African community merged with Jerusalemites and adapted to the city’s way of life, it has kept its own traditions and customs. Qawssaid, Even though we do not come from the same country, we were raised in Jerusalem as members of one family, and we have common traditions that we seekto maintainsuch as those of death and marriage, as well asour shared popular dish ofporridgeknown as Asidathat we eat on special occasions. These traditions were in part preserved with the help of the African Community Society, which was established in 1983. The society seeks to connect its members to their varied African heritages, especially the youth,and also to introduce tourists in Jerusalem to their traditions. The economic situation of the African community is no different from the rest of the Old City, where the poverty rate reached 82% in 2014, according to a study by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. Members of the city’s African community are generally not landowners in the city; they primarily rent houses. Ihabal-Jallad, aresearcher on Jerusalem affairs at the Jerusalem Popular Committee,said this community is a central part of the city’s social fabric, whichis composed of many different groups that all acknowledge the sanctity of the city.However, members of the community tend to marry within the community, and can also face discrimination based on their skin color. Jallad told Al-Monitor that African community members were “famous for their work as guards at the gates ofAl-AqsaMosque over the years.” He said the community does not have any singular political leaders, since members are often affiliated with a diverse range of authorities in Jerusalem. Many yearshave passed since theAfrican community’s initial arrival inJerusalem. Though they still feel an innate sense of connection to their ancestors’ countries of origin, they have chosen to continue livingin Jerusalem for its sanctity. It is in this tradition of fusion, Qaws said, that the African Community Society has embarked on a new project: to embroider atraditional silk African wedding gown using the stitched embroidery of the Palestinians. Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/08/jerusalem-african-community-culture-al-aqsa.html

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August 10, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

How Netanyahu trumped Trump – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump at Ben Gurion International Airport. (photo credit:KOBI GIDEON/GPO) The ultimate preview to Wednesday nights mass rally at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds was the statement Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus wife, Sara, uttered to American first lady Melania Trump upon her May 22 arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport. The media hates us, but the people love us, she said. Fast forward to Wednesday night, when the prime minister took his wifes statement and made it the central theme of his address to more than 3,000 Likud activists who crowded into the hall on short notice to show him the love. First, Netanyahu mentioned his love for Sara. Then, his love for the audience, for his party, and the people. The rest of the speech was about the media. Long before Trump, Netanyahu realized that the publics animosity for the press can be galvanized. The Israel Democracy Institutes polls consistently show that journalism is the least respected profession in Israel, even lower than politician. A sign in the crowd at the Fairgrounds could have fit in any of Trumps rallies in the US: Its not fake news, its f***ing news. By turning his multiple criminal investigations into a fight between him and the media, Netanyahu painted himself as a victim being bullied and worthy of sympathy. But he did not stop there. Netanyahu knew he needed to do more than equate the media with the Left. That is an easy task. He had to criticize the investigations against him, while being careful not to come out too strong against the police and the state prosecution. The last thing Netanyahu needs is to be like Yoram Sheftel, the foul-mouthed attorney of Hebron shooter Elor Azaria, who called the IDF chief of staff a fatso, and then had to ask him to ease the sentence of his client. Netanyahu had to make it look as if he is being investigated by the Left, so he brought up three symbols of the Left that are extremely unpopular with the public: The Oslo peace process, the Haaretz newspaper, and former prime minister Ehud Barak. If he could make those three his enemies in the eyes of the public, Netanyahu will have an easy sell. The Palestinians want me to be toppled, he told the crowd, earning even more sympathy. The story of the Likuds Yitzhak Shamir being overthrown in 1992 and replaced by Yitzhak Rabins Labor Party due to false corruption charges is not entirely accurate. But it enabled Netanyahu to equate anti-corruption activism with giving up land. The protesters who have been gathering outside Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblits home in Petah Tikva every Saturday night have taken pains to insist their demonstrations are not left-wing. Protest leader Daphne Leef summarized that strategy when she explained why she would not be protesting outside the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on Wednesday night. We are against corruption, not the Right or the Left, she said. We dont need to fall in that trap. But one speech by Netanyahu giving the opposite message canceled out what demonstrations held every Saturday for more than 30 weeks tried to achieve. The Petah Tikva protesters are now part of them, those who are trying to overthrow a government that the people want. They are part of the bad guys, the Left, the media. Netanyahu is the people. And he delivered that message to a consensus of Israelis more effectively than was ever done by Donald Trump, who has never succeeded in forging a consensus in the United States. Donald and Melania still have what to learn from Benjamin and Sara, who trumped them on Wednesday night. Share on facebook

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August 9, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Benjamin Netanyahu cuts ribbon on new road linking Beit Shemesh … – The Jerusalem Post

OUR FREE DAILY NEWS BLAST Isi Leibler Candidly Speaking: Postmortem of a disastrous month Caroline B. Glick Preparing for the post-Abbas era Shmuley Boteach How Israel tolerates the intolerable by allowing terrorists to live Gershon Baskin Encountering peace: The next Palestinian generation WATCH: Motorcyclists ride in support of Israel police WATCH: Clashes in Jaffa after police shoot suspect dead overnight WATCH: Lebanon youth swear allegiance to Iran’s Khamenei REAL ESTATE CLASSIFIEDS Most Read Netanyahu to supporters: ‘We’ll lead the nation for years’ ‘BitCoen’ to become first electronic currency specifically for Jews Underground barrier with Gaza to extend into the sea French Jews in Hebron best answer to UNESCO

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August 9, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

IDF strikes Hamas targets following Gaza rocket attack – The Jerusalem Post

An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip July 17, 2014.. (photo credit:REUTERS) The Israeli Air Force targeted two Hamas posts on the northern Gaza Strip late Tuesday night following an earlier rocket attack from the Hamas-controlled territory, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. “Israel holds the terrorist organization solely responsible for activities on the Strip,” stated the IDF after the strike. According The Jerusalem Post’s sister site Maariv, citing Palestinian media, there were a number of injuries resulting from the IDF strike, and one person was rushed to Al-Shifa Hospital located in Gaza City. Recently acquired F-35 stealth fighter jets were reportedly used in the strike. This summer marks three years since Operation Protective Edge, in which thousands of rockets, mortars and other projectiles were launched from Gaza towards Israel and the IDF caused extensive damage with air and ground offensives, aiming to eliminate the terrorist threat. The war lasted 50 days and saw 68 soldiers, and five civilians killed on the Israeli sides and upwards of 2,000 killed on the Palestinian side, more than half claimed by Israel to be combatants. Since then Israel has held Hamas responsible for all fire from Gaza and customarily reacts by carrying out air strikes on the group’s bases and infrastructure. Share on facebook

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Sirens sounded as missile launched at southern Israel – The Jerusalem Post

Rocket fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. [File]. (photo credit:REUTERS) Rocket sirens were sounded this evening in the coastal city of Ashkelon as a missile was launched at the city from Gaza. According to the IDF the rocket landed in an open area, causing no injuries or damage. A spokesman for Hof Ashkelon regional council said that alarms were also sounded in the nearby villages of Zikim and Carmia. Military forces were dispatched to scan the area. Palestinian media reported that the Israeli Air Force fired artillery at the source of the rocket fire in the northern Gaza Strip. While terrorism has plagued Israel over this summer, much of it has been centered around Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, with only a handful of projectiles being launched from Gaza. The last rocket was launched on July 22. Pieces of the rocket landed in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. In April, rocket sirens were sounded in the Eshkol Regional Council. The attack was claimed by a local ISIS affiliate, according to the group’s media outlet, Amaq. While no physical injuries were reported, one person was treated for shock. This summer marks three years since Operation Protective Edge, in which thousands of rockets, mortars and other projectiles were launched from Gaza towards Israel and the IDF caused extensive damage with air and ground offensives, aiming to eliminate the terrorist threat. The war lasted 50 days and saw 68 soldiers, and five civilians killed on the Israeli sides and upwards of 2,000 killed on the Palestinian side, more than half claimed by Israel to be combatants. Since then Israel has held Hamas responsible for all fire from Gaza and customarily reacts by carrying out air strikes on the group’s bases and infrastructure. Share on facebook

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed


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